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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

Mayors of three of the nation’s largest cities are pledging to take more action against climate change by implementing new projects to curb greenhouse gas emissions and persuading other leaders to do the same.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will announce the new initiative Monday in New York in advance of a United Nations climate summit being held this week.

Under the plan, the mayors will commit to set or renew aggressive targets for their cities’ greenhouse gas reductions, develop new standards to track and report pollution sources at least once a year, and draft or update climate action plans with specific strategies to control global warming and adapt to its effects.

The mayors will also pledge to identify and develop new emissions-offset projects that could be incorporated into existing carbon markets, such as California’s cap-and-trade program. Projects could include urban forestry, the destruction of ozone-depleting substances, and the capture of heat-trapping gases from landfills.

They vow to spend the next year recruiting other city leaders across the nation to sign on to the initiative, to be called the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda.

By joining, mayors also promise to support federal policies to cut carbon emissions and a binding global climate agreement, and to make equity and environmental justice a priority in climate action plans.

The announcement comes a day after an estimated 310,000 demonstrators marched through Manhattan to demand international action to control climate change, one of thousands of such demonstrations held around the world on Sunday. It follows a similar pledge by Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, in part by ordering energy-efficiency upgrades to city-owned buildings.

The U.N. summit of more than 100 world leaders in New York, set for Tuesday, is a step toward the next attempt to negotiate a sweeping international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scheduled for Paris next year.

The mayors’ plan says cities must act on their own because of the U.S. Senate’s unwillingness to ratify an international treaty to reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases causing global warming. Cities are responsible for about 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, the mayors say, and are on the front lines of extreme weather events and other effects of climate change.

“Mayors must confront this challenge not only at the local level, but also by calling for binding emission reductions at the federal and global level,” Garcetti said in a written statement.
The three mayors lead the largest cities represented on a climate task force President Obama established last year. Their plan is an outgrowth of several meetings the group of governors, mayors and tribal leaders from across the country have held in Washington, Los Angeles and Des Moines.

Photo via Flickr

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Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]